How to use Trekking Poles

How to use Trekking Poles



Trekking poles (also known as hiking poles, hiking sticks or walking poles) are a essential trekking accessory used to assist trekkers with their rhythm and provide stability on rough terrain. All outdoor and trekking people must learn and experience on how to use trekking poles in a way that allows you to hike easier, efficient and save energy. Advantages of Trekking Poles. Most obviously, poles reduce the impact of hiking on knee joints and leg muscles. Arm and shoulder muscles support and relieve the leg muscles. … Furthermore, while walking on level ground, poles reduce the body weight carried by the legs.


1.  About Trekking Poles


Trekking poles have 3-section and one must learn to familiarise with how to adjusting the section and understanding the mechanism.

2.  Adjusting Pole Length


Learn to adjust the length according to the terrain. When we hike, we see many people do so many mistakes. Some are adjusted too long or too short.


  • Always start with setting the pole height so that when the tip is at your foot, your elbow makes a roughly 90° bend.


  • On three-section pole, set the top adjuster so the upper section is telescoped halfway. Then fix the lower section to achieve the desired height. Always make any necessary adjustments during trekking by adjusting the top section.



  1. Attaching your Poles


How to hold the poles play a big role in how one will use the poles. Put your hand up through the bottom of the strap loop and then pull the strap down by holding the grip.

  • Adjust the length of the straps such that your fingers land where they fit on the grips of the trekking poles.
  • Hold the grip loosely to prevent hand tiredness or wrist soreness .
  • Keep your elbows close to your sides.



Trekking Poles for Uphill


You are making a joint by using the strap as a strong, tireless ligament. Keeping your arms close to your sides conserves energy and keeps your poles right in the center or the trail.



  1. The Multiple Uses of Trekking Poles


Trekking poles are used primarily for balancing on uneven trails, saving energy during endurance trekking, support during heavy bag-pack carry, and reducing injury and many other functions:


  • Safety on rough trail or less used trails.
  • Looking out for dangerous animals.
  • Moving poison plants and other no-touchies plants on the trails.
  • Making a stand during trekking or outdoor rest.
  • Poling a tarp or tarp tent.
  • Making noise to avoid wild animals.
  • Bluffing off an animal attack (swing poles over your head).
  • Defending yourself in an actual attack.
  • Temporarily marking a trail.
  • Resting and stretching while standing.
  • Probing depth of water and mud.
  • Probing trail obstacles in the dark.
  • Stabilising a camera.





  1. Moving Trekking Poles Forward


Limbs attached, check. Now we have to move them forward, from “plant” to plant, as we hike.

Jog the forearm up slightly to cause the pole to swing forward and then back down to plant the tip. These minor motions get the job done with a minimum of movement and energy.





  1. Movement Patterns – 3 Types


  • Alternate legs: Hold a pole in each hand, grasping it lightly. Walk with the poles alongside you, letting your arms swing in natural opposition to your legs (i.e., your left arm and right foot move in tandem). Each pole goes forward when the opposite leg does. This pattern maximizes balance and lets your arms swing the way they do naturally when hiking.
  • Parallel legs: Each pole goes forward when the same-side leg does. This pattern provides the most relief to your legs, so use it to minimize leg fatigue and stress.
  • Double (or simultaneous) pole: Both poles move forward at the same time. This pattern is useful for stepping up or down, or as a change up.





  1. Making the Trekking Poles to Work


Trekkers must take advantage in using Poles. Use it to save energy on the legs and equally working on your upper body. A lot of pole users are not using the upper body strength during trekking. If your upper body doesn’t feel “worked” after an arduous trek, you are likely not using the trekking poles correctly.





  1. Three Basic Techniques: Push, Hold and Swing.


Depending on the terrain: flat, uphill and downhill, we adjust the length of the poles and we move on 3 basic movement. The Push, The Brakes and Balance and lastly The Swing Method focuses on what we want our poles to do for us:


  • The Push, which you might do on flats and uphill terrain.
  • The Brakes and Balance is necessary on downhill stretches.
  • The Swing, which you might choose on any flat terrain.